Toronto: Maggie Gyllenhaal Says Directing Is "Where My Heart Is"

Maggie Gyllenhaal - Publicity-H 2017
Courtesy of Christian Hogstedt

The 'Deuce' star is at work on a book-to-screen adaptation for her directorial debut.

After a long acting career, Maggie Gyllenhaal says she's finally tamed her fears and inhibitions about turning to directing.

"I don't think I felt I was entitled to direct a film, until recently," Gyllenhaal said Wednesday night during a keynote conversation at the Toronto Film Festival, as part of its In Conversation series. The Deuce star said she long felt she had to channel her storytelling skills into her onscreen performances.

But now Gyllenhaal feels confident enough to get into the director's chair as she busily adapts an unspecified book for the big screen. "I still feel scared about it, because it's new. But I know it's what the next thing has to do. I'm working on an adaptation, and to be honest with you, it's where my heart is," she said.

Gyllenhaal also revealed she hopes to direct an episode of HBO's The Deuce in which she plays Candy, a call girl turned adult film director. At TIFF, Gyllenhaal recalled the tensions of landing a producer credit on The Deuce during a conversation with series creators David Simon and George Pelecanos.

"I was to play a sex worker, and it was clear from the first three scripts I would have to do lots of sex scenes and be naked," she recounted. So as a hedge against being vulnerable on set, Gyllenhaal decided she needed the protection of a producer credit.

"I wanted to be in the room, I wanted to be part of the conversation, I wanted to know they wanted my mind as well as my body," Gyllenhaal revealed.

"I took that risk, thinking they would say no. Not only did they say yes, but it's been an incredible collaboration," she added.